Every year, the Christmas episode of SNL has typically brought out big-name starring hosts, various cameos (including past cast members), and memorable sketches such as Jimmy Fallon having the entire cast dance and sing around the studio, the “Christmas Time is Here” song, the Rudolph/Poehler/Wiig “Santa is My Boyfriend” song, Adam Sandler’s Hannukah song, and so much more. (Lotta songs.) Last year, we got “Twin Bed” and even Fallon singing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with Cecily Strong. In other words: it’s always an event. Last night’s episode, however, did not quite play out like that. It was fine at best, but with very few moments that will stand out along with even recent Christmas episodes. The most memorable sketches were topical, and everything else didn’t seem to play out as grand as material from last week’s show. Amy Adams was also fine, albeit overshadowed at times. (She did sing a lot.)
On to a jingling (yet underwhelmed) scorecard…
COLD OPEN: DR. EVIL (Killam, Myers)
Welp, we definitely started the trail of cameos quickly – as well as addressed the Sony hack/North Korea situation! No one could have called it being done this way, but nice creative twist. It was just so great to see Mike Myers playing this character again, live, and with solid things to say (including acknowledgement of The Love Guru being bad). Best cold open of the season?
AMY ADAMS MONOLOGUE (Adams, Wiig, Moynihan, Killam, Thompson, Zamata, McKinnon)
You know, it’s Christmas. If Kristen Wiig wants to do an SNL cameo on a night when everyone is going to show up anyway – as long as it’s fun/hilarious/not that upstaging, who cares? Well, that’s not what we got. I do like Kristen Wiig, but this became all about whatever she was doing. This was kind of fun, but I was really hoping Amy Adams could have had her own thing (as she was nearly very charming before Wiig entered).
ASIAN AMERICAN DOLL (Bayer, Strong)
A great approach to overly-political correctness. This was fine until the little girl’s final line about the dog. That shot this sketch into a whole new level of *insert sustained jaw-dropping face here*
TENDERFIELD CHRISTMAS (Adams, Killam, McKinnon, Mooney, Thompson)
Maybe if I had seen the video this thing was based on (apparently shown on the Today Show?), I would have a better time with it. Yes, I must be one of the only people who didn’t know about this…whoops. Anyway, as is, it was kind of interesting. Taran Killam plays a good eccentric dad…and it ends with Kenan yelling to shut it down. That’s all I got.
Not online due to song issues.
CHRISTMAS SERIAL (Strong, Adams, Mooney, Thompson, McKinnon, Pharaoh, Bryant)
I mean, I don’t listen to Serial, but everyone who does says it was dead on. It wasn’t funny for someone who isn’t familiar w/the show; but despite me not laughing, it looked really good and will probably be the internet’s favorite thing today, so…yeah. I will say, it looked like much of this week’s work went into making this sketch great.
GIRLFRIENDS TALK SHOW (Strong, Bryant, Adams, One Direction)
I’ve never been a gigantic fan of these in the past, and as it turns out, Amy Adams didn’t matter in the sketch – it was all about One Direction showing up. They’re always fine and game for anything when they show up for SNL, but this time it was more to ogle over them being there more than them really having anything to say. Aidy Bryant’s “I’m blasting” line was the best part. (Why would there be a dance for middle school cheerleaders called ‘body pump’???)
OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY (Pharaoh, Davidson, McKinnon, Moynihan, Killam, Jones, Thompson, Bennett, Mooney, Bryant, Adams)
What was this? Was it a sketch? When Pharaoh and Davidson came out, it looked like it was going to be really cool, and it ended with what looked like a shrooms trip in the office. (I wish it could’ve been a sketch about Aidy Bryant attacking that Christmas tree.)
WEEKEND UPDATE (Jost, Che, Moynihan, Thompson, Wiig, Armisen)
Post Cold-Open, this was the best part of the night. Jost and Che were great! Che’s rant to Kim Jong-Un was just brilliant, and proof of why he’s great at what he does. Also, I want a poster of “Now That’s What Jost Calls Music!” And these Cosby jokes…man, the deliveries are good, but the moans that follow…we as a country may just never be ready for them. Anyway: having Bobby Moynihan’s Kim Jong-Un be ripped via forth wall was pretty cool too, but I do wish Colin’s “no man, it’s a bad idea” lines wouldn’t have been played so scripted. But whatever, then Che gave us a new character with his Neighbor Willie (Kenan Thompson) who is obviously homeless but just so gosh darn positive, how can you not smile while listening to him talk? (That tie, though.) Finally, the never-that-prepared Garth and Kat returned to give us some Hannukah song improv. I just enjoy the heck out of seeing Fred Armisen improvise nearly anything, to be honest.
A VERY CUBAN CHRISTMAS (Killam, Strong, Moynihan, Mooney, Adams, Davidson, McKinnon, Thompson, Armisen, Bennett, Pharaoh)
I’m gonna forget about this one as soon as I’m done writing about it.
SINGING SISTERS (Mooney, Moynihan, Killam, McKinnon, Adams, Strong)
How weird this was. It was a little similar to last week’s red boots sketch – not quite as memorable in my opinion, but compared to other sketches on tonight, it was definitely one of the most interesting. Also, Moynihan and Mooney are great together once again.
CAT RESCUE COMMERCIAL (McKinnon, Adams)
I was kind of hoping this would be a recurring sketch! “Cats don’t have to know our business” and the cat puns were so much fun. Although, what was great about the first time we saw this with Charlize Theron last May was the subtlety in her character flirting with Kate McKinnon…this time it’s already just there in the setup. (But whatever, I still enjoy a good pun. More of those.)
Best Sketch of the Night: Weekend Update
Worst Sketch of the Night: Girlfriends Talk Show
Joke of the Night: “Look…Kimberly.” (and everything after that) – Che
Observations: This felt like a fine, but average episode of SNL where there’s one or two topical things done to get the internet to like it, and then here’s some sketches that should be funny. But as an SNL Christmas show, it wasn’t quite up to par with the material that has made these episodes such an event in the past. Now of course, they can’t all be golden nuggets of Christmas brilliance. But compared to how solid and great the rest of the season has been, it was a little lowkey disappointing that this only had a few memorably great ideas. Update & Dr. Evil were definitely the best parts, with a couple decent sketches (Singing Sisters, Asian American Doll) right behind – but the Serial parody + One Direction are what’s going to get all the attention.
BLACKOMETER AVERAGE: 6.18
Next time: Kevin Hart in 2015! Merry Christmas!
Martin Freeman: 6.98
Bill Hader: 6.91
James Franco: 6.81
Woody Harrelson: 6.80
Jim Carrey: 6.80
Cameron Diaz: 6.78
Sarah Silverman: 6.78
Chris Pratt: 6.54
Amy Adams: 6.18
Chris Rock: 5.75